Living With Food Allergies

Non-Dairy Does Not Mean Milk-Free

U.S. food label law allows a product label to state "non-dairy" on the package. This is true even if the product contains casein, a milk protein.

The law requires that the term "milk" be in plain English following any ingredients that come from milk. 

You will find the term "non-dairy" on foods like creamers and frozen whipped toppings.  The front of the package may say "non-dairy."  The ingredient statement on the back of the package may include sodium caseinate, a milk protein.

Examples of Wording on the List of Ingredients

Example 1: "Natural flavoring (contains caseinate, a milk protein)"

Example 2: "Sodium caseinate (a milk derivative)"

Example 3: "Contains: Milk"

So, if you see a product labeled "non-dairy" on the front of the package, don't assume that it is free of milk. Always read the complete list of ingredients. Look for any milk-derived ingredients.

Learn more about managing a MILK ALLERGY.



Food and Drug Administration. (2004). Food; designation of ingredients. In Food Labeling. (21CFR101.4(d)). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access. Retrieved May 22, 2014 from:

Medical review March 2011.